People play videogames based on how well they satisfy competence, autonomy and relatedness.

Researchers Andrew Przybylski and Scott Rigby, who work with game designers, believe people are motivated to play a particular video game based on how well it satisfies three basic psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Competence deals with a sense of control, mastery, and feeling like you’re making things happen the way you want. A well designed difficulty curve makes us feel an ever-increasing sense of competence, as does appropriate matchmaking in multiplayer games. Games high in autonomy give you the opportunity to make many meaningful decisions about what goals to pursue and how to pursue them. Finally, relatedness is concerned with a feeling that you matter to other players and social interactions with them.